Have you ever been talking to someone on the phone and while they talk, you wash a few dishes, dust the furniture, and turn to holler at the kids now and then? How about chatting online? Have you ever carried on conversations with two or three people simultaneously? How about four or five people? In this day and age, multitasking has reached new heights, and ironically, with the many different tools we have at hand to supposedly aid in communication, it seems that many people lack the ability to communicate on a deeper level. It has been said “You cannot truly listen to anyone and do anything else at the same time.” I think there’s some truth to that statement.
Ralph Nichols once said “The most basic of all human needs is the need to understand and be understood. The best way to understand people is to listen to them.” It seems like some people are people magnets. Somehow others are drawn to them. Folks always want to bounce ideas off them, discuss various problems, and bare their souls to these individuals. Perhaps one of the reasons is that they listen. But I wonder, who listens to them?
The next time you engage in a conversation, give some thought to how you listen. Try to focus your attention solely on the person with whom you are conversing at least for a few minutes. Don’t be so quick to express every thought and opinion. Don’t formulate your next sentence in your mind, while the other person is still talking. Instead, take the time to really listen. You just may learn something.